Re: SOC: Ubiquitous Surveillance (Was: dreams of a betterworld)

From: Dana Hedberg (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2000 - 12:32:34 MST

Jeff Davis wrote:
> After graduating from Heald in computer technology, and getting his first
> job, THE VERY FIRST THING HE DID was start looking for another job, and
> from that moment on he was NEVER without an alternate position waiting for
> him should he, at any moment, need to avail himself of it. Consider the
> brilliance of this action. Your bosses have no leverage, if you can leave
> for a "better" situation at the first sign of "attitude" from someone in
> what is generally regarded as a position of "greater power". Plus, on the
> instant he had an offer for better money, he would walk into his superior's
> office and stick it to him: "Match the offer or I'm gone." No begging.
> Just pure, undeniable leverage.
> He was, and is, always, calm and relaxed, pleasant with others, works the
> way he wants to, takes lunch for as long as he wants to, etc. Seeing how
> easily he has accomplished this, makes me think that the reason more people
> don't do it is that they believe that being on the short end of the power
> play is an inescapable feature of being in the lower echelons of the power
> hierarchy. They believe it can't be done.

For me, as a worker, it's a question of professional work ethic. Of
course I could have one or several jobs lined up immediately and leave
whenever I felt there was cause to do so. Or even, hold the prospect of
my leaving over my current employer so that I can act in a manner that
suited my more leisurely side. But, the question that I ask myself is:
Is this really how I want my work career defined? If you work in any
kind of situation where you have a direct supervisor/manager you have to
accept that there will be times when you and that person disagree, and
if you happen to be wrong, but there is this perceived imbalance of
power, then can you be managed effectively, for the good of the company
(and consequently you as well)? To be sure, a poor work situation is
something one should leave immediately, but to take unfair advantage
harms everyone, including making it more likely that you will end up
leaving for a different position.

As a high-level manager of such 'in demand' people, the first thing I
try to establish is the level of comfort and requirements necessary in
order to keep them working in a manner that I believe is appropriate for
the success of the project/company. We both know that they could get a
job anywhere, but that's not the point. The point is, are they satisfied
with the current situation. If not, work out something that makes them
such without sacrificing your ability to get the job done. Work with
them! In the computer/web industry, especially here in Seattle, anyone
with a modicum of skill can work for astronomical sums and unbelievable
benefits. How you compete with that is by making sure that you have a
relationship that is clearly defined in terms of expectations, work
policies, and the direction of authority. It all has to be agreed upon,
otherwise it doesn't work. I don't try to make coding decisions, and I
don't expect or want those under me to make management decisions. We all
respect this, otherwise none of it works. And, in those situations where
you get a person who just wants to milk the system (ie, take long
lunches, work whenever, not answering to anyone, etc.) there is a clear
path to take. "Your skills and knowledge are valuable to this company.
However, your work ethic is unacceptable. We recommend that you find
employment elsewhere." Which is fine with them, since they can get a job
fairly quickly, or have one already lined up. And, while troublesome for
you, it's much better in the long run. In this industry at this time in
the market, personal work ethic is the most important it's ever been.
You have to want to work there, and part of a really good manager's job
it to make that happen without killing the company in the process.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* First freedom from, then freedom to.

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